West Ham United youngster Xande Silva was in a confident mood after his hat-trick fired the club’s U23s to an opening Premier League 2 victory over rivals Tottenham Hotspur away from home on Monday evening.
Post-match at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, he spoke to the club’s official TV channel West Ham TV, about his competitive Hammers debut and his love of scoring goals.
“I’m happy, I’m really happy, It’s my debut for West Ham and it’s also my first three goals – a hat-trick – and I’m delighted. Now, I must keep going and keep scoring.
“Scoring goals is my job, I’m here to score goals. I must do this, I’m a striker. That’s it, that’s what I do,” claimed the 21-year-old.
Silva was signed by Manuel Pellegrini in the summer transfer window from Vitoria de Guimaraes, having made over 25 appearances in the Primera Liga in his short career so far.
The youngster was the club’s tenth permanent signing of the summer, a multi-million-pound move that helped to take them to a spending total of just under £100 million for the window and a net spend of over £80 million.
It was made clear from the beginning that the signing was for the Development Squad, who are starting their second season at the highest level, the PL2 Division 1, after last season’s top-six finish.
Their campaign began with the trip to Hertfordshire on Monday evening to face off with fellow London opposition in Spurs, strugglers last season and Silva knew the importance of the result, both for the sake of getting off to a strong start and local bragging rights, whilst speaking in the same Interview.
“I know playing against Tottenham is always a big game here in London. I know it’s a derby and I’m really happy with the performance.”
Starting for Terry Westley’s team for the first time in his first competitive appearance in England, days after being involved in the U23s’ final pre-season friendly, a defeat to Watford, the Portuguese took to the English game like a duck to water.
Post-the hosts taking the lead early on through an eye-catching Samuel Shashoua trike, Silva would level things up before the break, showing off the kind of attacking skills that have earnt him appearances for the Portugal national team at every level from U15 to U20.
Silva was involved in a trademark Academy of Football attacking move for the team captained by Reece Oxford, being played in by Grady Diangana and smashing the ball high into the roof of the net past Alfie Whiteman to level the scores.
His next two goals, the final ones of the evening in Stevenage, came within five minutes of the start of the second period and simply blew the home side away, they had no reply after that.
The debutant No9 was played in by first-teamer Josh Cullen almost straight from the restart to once more, get the better of Whiteman in a cool and composed fashion, the hat-trick was on.
And he wouldn’t have to wait very long for it whatsoever, popping up in a very similar area from Nathan Holland’s neat pull-back, looking up and picking his spot in the far corner with precision to give the Young Hammers a welcome perfect start to what looks like it’s going to be another very exciting season.
The opening three points were enough to fire them to the very top of the table and set the tone for another top-four challenge, which, with a few different results, they could have easily achieved last time out, instead, finishing fifth.
Behind them in second are favourites Manchester City, who also finished one place below the Irons last season and scored an opening day victory, overcoming reigning champions Arsenal 6-5 in a thriller.
Ironically, it’s the Citizens up next at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Sunday afternoon for Westley’s boys, a team that they did the double over in emphatic style last term, they will be hoping to achieve the same, here is what Silva had to say about the upcoming clash:
“I’m looking forward to it, but I must rest now! This week I have time to think about the next game.”
However, it is not known whether or not they will be able to call on his services on that occasion, with rumours swirling that he may be called up to first-team duty for the first time.
Following Pellegrini’s men’s opening 4-0 thrashing at Anfield in the Premier League last Sunday, they face a pressure match at home to AFC Bournemouth at London Stadium, their first home outing of the campaign.
Many fans and pundits have called for Silva to be included in, at the very least, the matchday squad, and possibly even the starting Xl after such a weak and timid attacking performance on Merseyside at the weekend.
However, regardless of whether he is included in East London on Saturday afternoon or not, the future undoubtedly looks bright for Silva and despite being far from Pellegrini’s marquee signing of the summer, he may just turn out to be the Hammers’ shrewdest move in the window.